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Dropping out-of-country medical coverage too quickly may put Ontarians at risk

By The IJ Staff | May 17 2019 09:30AM

The Canadian Association of Financial Institutions in Insurance (CAFII) says that many people could find themselves without adequate insurance if the Ontario government moves ahead too quickly with its decision to end OHIP’s emergency services coverage for Ontarians travelling outside Canada.

The government has set Oct. 1, 2019 as the implementation date to end OHIP’s out-of-country coverage. However, CAFII says more time is needed to transition to this change – at least one-year.

New premium rates

A lengthier transition period would enable the government “to undertake a robust, multi-year communications campaign to inform Ontarians about the change and resulting implications.” More time would also allow the insurance industry “to determine what the new premium rates will be, and to ensure its employees are ready to communicate about the changes and properly serve their customers.”

“We believe a robust communications campaign by the Government that supplements what the insurance industry is already doing will be critical in mitigating the risk to the travelling public of this change in insurance coverage,” says Keith Martin, Co-Executive Director of CAFII. “That communications campaign should emphasize to Ontarians the importance of having travel health insurance in place before travelling outside Canada, so that they and their loved ones will have immediate access to emergency medical care and related assistance, and can avoid exposure to potentially catastrophic and life-altering financial costs.”

OHIP presently covers out-of-country inpatient services to a maximum of $400 per day, and up to $50 per day for emergency outpatient care. When these amounts are no longer covered by OHIP, “travel medical insurance will become even more important to have, and the cost will undoubtedly rise,” says Martin.

Last month the Canadian Snowbird Association estimated that travel medical insurance premiums would rise by 7.5% as a result of this change.

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